Richard Mathias began his volunteer fire service in the Village of Cygnet at the age of 18, following the excellent example of his father and older brothers. Over the next fifty years, Chief Mathias worked his way up the ranks to become the Fire Chief. Along the way, he was instrumental in getting a new addition for the fire station added to the village hall and keeping all the equipment in running order.
Throughout those fifty years of service, his dedication to keeping the community a safe place to live never faltered. He laid his life on the line to protect his fellow residents from fires in the oil fields, homes and business fires, EMT runs and major traffic accidents. He allowed stranded travelers to stay in his home during extreme conditions, spent hours sitting at the top of the overpass during tornado alerts and worked to keep villagers safe from flooding issues.
Chief Mathias has always been active in the community work done by the Cygnet Fire Department. Each year, the department provides the children of the community with Santa Claus, the Easter Egg Hunt, Trick-or-Treat Night plus a party at the fire hall, the annual chicken barbeque and street dance. For many years, the firefighters organized a street carnival and also prepared Sunday dinners for the community.
In recent years, Chief Mathias stayed active in the department to ensure that enough firefighters were available during the day when other firefighters went to work on their full-time jobs. He has given his time and his energies beyond the call of duty in serving the citizens of Cygnet for more than fifty years.
Many times, Chief Mathias would be setting down for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with his family and the fire siren would sound. His family always understood his dedication to the entire community and celebrated with him when the emergency was over, even when the outcome was less than happy.
It is a rare individual who would donate fifty years of service as a Volunteer Firefighter in a small village of 590 residents while receiving no pay. This award is the ultimate tribute to a man who has never hesitated to answer the call to serve his fellow citizens.
~ Nominated by Mayor Nancy Myers, Village of Cygnet